Operation Varsity Blues is an American dramatised documentary film streaming on Netflix. The film is based on the 2019 scandal related to a criminal conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several top American universities. The investigation into the conspiracy was code named Operation Varsity Blues.

The documentary takes its cues from the recent popular trend to dramatise certain aspects of the narrative, though usually the events visualised are set decades (even centuries) ago. The difference with Operation Varsity Blues is that the events covered are barely two years old. Thus the question inevitably rises — is this documentary necessary in view of the incessant media coverage when the scandal first hit the news in 2019? Does the documentary provide any new relevant information that sheds more light on the events and the protagonists of this criminal drama.

Or should we really say, protagonist, as it appears that – according to the documentary – that the ringleader of the entire operation was one Rick Singer. The first half of the film in fact presents Singer as the key character in this bribery scheme, a shrewd operator who figured how to game the college admission systems and appeal to the vain and narcissistic desires of deep-pocketed American one percenters.

However, in the second half of the film, it is suggested that once the FBI caught up with Singer, he turned collaborator and cooperator to entrap his clients into incriminating themselves. The film more than insinuates that Singer used the same persuasive skills that seduced his rich clients into his web of deceit to earn himself brownie points with the Feds and provide the latter with a high profile list of wealthy white-collar criminals.

Worse still, when the film delivers a wholly unsatisfactory denouement with Singer a free man, out on bail, while his clients are left dangling on his hook, many of them serving jail sentences. This leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and speaks volumes of American justice, such as it is.

For this reason, we would not recommend Operation Varsity Blues – an utterly pointless exercise and examination of America’s love-hate relationship with their wealthiest, not to mention twisted justice system. Avoid.

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